There are many categories of computer crimes. For instance, the New York state penal codes establish legal definitions of various forms of computer crimes that are punishable by fines and potentially even by jail time. Specifically, hacking a computer system is criminal, as is accessing unauthorized data on a computer for which there is authorization of other data, duplicating computer material and sometimes even just possessing the computer material.
Examples of computer crimes are as follows:
1. Hacking: in New York State, a person who uses a computer or a computer network without the prior authorization of the computer / network owner and then changes the owner’s data or computer programs is guilty of a crime. This action refers to “hacking” of the computer or of specific data on the computer system without prior permission. If a person hacks into the computer system and then changes any of the material, that person would have committed some form of what the state calls computer tampering or trespass.
2. Accessing unauthorized data: even if a person is authorized to use the computer but accesses data that is outside of the specific areas for which the person has authorization, it is a crime. For example, if a person works in a company and is authorized to access its database but changes the data in any way without authorization, that person would have committed some form of computer crime.
3. Duplicating computer data Duplicating computer material without authorization is also a crime, especially if the intent is to benefit economically. For instance, if a person duplicates a customer list and sells it to a competitor, that is a crime.
4. Possessing computer data without authorization In many cases, merely possessing computer material with intent to benefit from it economically without authorization from the owner is also a crime. In the above example, the data is duplicated. However, if a person has possession of unauthorized customer lists and shares them with another without actually duplicating them, this is also criminal.